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Paper story biased

Posted: April 11, 2009 1:06 a.m.
Updated: April 11, 2009 4:30 a.m.
Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to Signal Publisher Ian Lamont.

I am sending this correspondence to you in order to express my grave concerns regarding the story that was printed by The Signal on April 1, 2009.

The article to which I am referring was composed by Signal Staff Writer Brian Charles regarding the incident between a Canyon High School teacher and a student.

Let me initiate this letter by stating that Mike Motherspaw, teacher in question, was absolutely wrong with regards to his actions with this student. I do not condone his decision-making skills or behavior with regards to this matter at all.

I am extremely disappointed in the paper’s disregard for ethical and appropriate news reporting in this story. I strongly believe that by publishing this piece, The Signal reached an all-time low.

Throughout my 11 years as a citizen and active community member in the Santa Clarita Valley, I have never read a story in your paper that was so extremely biased and unsuitably investigated.

This story lacked proper exploration, included statements relentlessly out of context, and Mr. Charles made no attempt to speak directly with Mike Motherspaw for his input on the situation. In fact, this particular piece established an image of a man as a perilous criminal.

Mike is a man of character, honor, pride, professionalism and integrity. He demonstrates a humanistic approach to his job and family that we can only strive to obtain on a daily basis.

He instructs with a sense of passion and purpose — as if each day is his first and last day of teaching.

Mike serves the campus and community as an educator, volunteer, coach, father and friend. Most significantly, in my 11 years as a professional educator, I have yet to meet a man who has more love and compassion for his job and for his students.

The Signal, Mr. Charles and you owe the community, the campus and most importantly Mike and his family an apology for this article.
While Mike will most certainly face any consequences of his actions with his head high, he does not need to endure, nor deserve, the pain and embarrassment that this article has caused.

In a family community such as the Santa Clarita Valley, the only local paper has a responsibility to report stories that are fairly represented, with honesty and integrity, and most importantly with ethical responsibility.

This wonderful valley has so many positive stories to be mutually enjoyed by all, and these stories merit reporting as well.

On a final note. I would hope that you, as the publisher, would very carefully consider the actions of all of your reporters and editors in the future. The written word has always been the most powerful weapon; it should be used carefully and responsibly.

Getz is assistant principal at Canyon High School but submitted this letter as a private citizen.


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